Prince Deji Adeyanju, the Convener of a pro-democracy and good governance group, Concerned Nigerians, has alleged life threats from the security operatives comprising the Department of State Services, DSS, the Police and the army over his group's planned peaceful protest against the secret trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu by the federal government.
Recall that the group has condemned and planned to stage a peaceful protest on Friday, April 21, 2017 against the planned secret trial of Mr. Kanu.
Recall also that the IPOB leader and other pro-Biafra supporters have been detained since October 14, 2015, by the DSS over alleged treasonable felony and illegal association preferred against them by the federal government. Although the later charge was later struck out by the court wherein IPOB or Biafra was declared not an illegal association and Mr. Kanu and other detainees granted bail by various courts, the federal government has continued to detain them.
But in a statement signed by both its Convener, Prince Deji Adeyanju and its Secretary, Dr. John Danfulani, the pro-democracy group said it has become necessary to stage the peaceful protest because, such secret trial as being pushed by the federal government does not serve the interest of the course of justice."
In a separate release to newsmen also, Prince Adeyanju said he was invited by the security operatives in the federal capital territory, Abuja where he was told to step-down his planned protest against the secret trial of Mr. Nnnamdi Kanu.
According to him, "Just got out of a 1-hour meeting with Commissioner of Police of FCT. In attendance was a Director of DSS and Brigade Commander of the Army.
"They said there's security concerns over our rallies: #SayNoToSecretTrial of Nnamdi Kanu #FreeZakZakky
I asked what concern: No Answer.
"Then threats and more threats.
"I told them, rally will go on as planned tomorrow for #SayNoToSecretTrial and #FreeZakZakky on Wednesday.
"Then threats and more threats. I told them, rally will go on as planned tomorrow for #SayNoToSecretTrial and #FreeZakZakky on Wednesday.
"The DSS guy said: Deji, we have never disturbed you in all your rallies. Why ZakZakky and Kanu "They have a major issue with ZakZakky & Kanu."
But in the call for the peaceful protest, the group said, "We invite the general public and members of the press to our peaceful procession to protest the attempts to conduct the trial of detained Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, in secret. The procession will begin at the Unity Fountain on Friday April 21st, 2017 by 0900am."
"This procession has become necessary in the light of the FGN's continued insistence to conduct the trial in secret. It is our firm belief that a secret trial in such a high profile matter does not serve the interests of the course of justice or Nigeria's national security interests."
"Furthermore, Sections 36(3) and 36(6)(d) guarantee the right to a public trial and to examine all witnesses called by the prosecution to all Nigerians citizens. These attempts to try Nnamdi Kanu in secret not only potentially violate these rights but also constitute a precursor to the erosion of the rights and freedoms of the Nigerian people."
"In the build up to this procession, we have held a meeting with a security team comprising the State Security Services (SSS), the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Abuja Command of the Nigerian Police Force and representatives of the Nigerian Army.
"During this meeting, we reiterated our intention to conduct a peaceful procession in the manner of all our previous processions. We also reiterated our intention to exercise our right to peaceful and lawful assembly as guaranteed by the Constitution.
We are well aware of the subtle and not so subtle threats made at this meeting. However, we refuse to be intimidated by them. In this wise, our protest will go on as planned."
"We urge all Nigerians who plan to attend to be peaceful and law abiding during the procession.
God bless Nigeria."